About Us

 

THEATRE BENEVOLENT FUND - INTRODUCTION

First things first...

The Theatre Benevolent Fund exists for EVERYBODY who works / has worked professionally in the entertainment industry.

Soap stars and scene shifters, ballerinas and broadcasters, circus jugglers and singers, technicians, designers, publicists, musicians, magicians, directors, producers, focus pullers and stuntmen...

WE ARE HERE FOR EVERYBODY IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY.

Film • Radio • TV • Theatre • Dance • Opera • Live Performance • Perfoming Arts • Circus

It’s also the ONLY welfare organisation that exists to look after the needs of our industry.

So yes, the Theatre Benevolent Fund is a big deal.

Secondly – and this is just as important – we rely completely totally and utterly on donations to keep us going. We get no funding from anywhere or anybody other than the money YOU donate.

YOUR DONATION CAN HELP A FELLOW INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL.

OUR DONATIONS CAN HELP YOU.

IF YOU KNOW OF SOMEONE IN NEED, PLEASE TELL US.

The Theatre Benevolent Fund has been helping our fellows since 1962, and it is thanks to you and people like you that we have been able to keep going for this long. WHAT DO WE DO?

We provide monthly grants for beneficiaries, contribute towards medical and hospital costs and funeral costs, help widows and dependants, and assist with sourcing wheelchairs, walkers, and ongoing medical supplies such as adult diapers.

We currently have more than 20 monthly grant recipients to whom we pay a monthly stipend, equal to the Older Person’s Grant paid by the State.

So we are always looking for ways to top up our coffers, because right now we aren’t able to help all the people who are needy cases.

We know that you, like all of us, are always being bombarded with appeals for donations.

It wouldn’t be fair on our older and weaker fellows’ dignity to put some once-famous faces on our pamphlets to shock you and sadden you. But be assured, there are some very famous people from not so many years ago who have fallen on hard times.

The TBF is a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO number 930 000 322 ), with full Income Tax exemption, which means that you can claim your TBF donations back when you fill in that dreaded tax return. (Don’t forget to ask us for the relevant documentation, of course.)

The TBF is managed and administered by a team of entertainment industry professionals, together with a professional financial adviser as treasurer, and – apart from the secretarial position, which carries a small stipend - all work done by the management team and Board is done voluntarily, without any remuneration, as stipulated by the constitution.

Our administration costs are less than 10% per annum, and you can be sure that your donation is reaching the people who need it.

 

THE TBF AIMS TO HELP AND SUPPORT ALL WORKERS IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IN TIMES OF NEED


WHAT WE DO

The way we go about our business is quite simple - we provide monthly grants for beneficiaries; contribute towards medical, hospital and funeral costs; help widows and dependents survive through difficult times; and assist with sourcing wheelchairs, walkers, and ongoing medical supplies, such as adult diapers.

HOW WE DO IT

We provide support for our entertainers through the funds we receive from donors. The TBF is managed and administered by a team of voluntary entertainment industry professionals, together with a professional financial adviser as treasurer.


WHO CAN APPLY FOR ASSISTANCE

The Theatre Benevolent Fund exists for those who work or has worked professionally in any branch of the entertainment industry: Film, Radio, TV, Theatre, Live Performance, Arts, Media.

DONATIONS

We rely solely on donations to keep things going. We get no funding from any external source, so the support we get from you is essential. The TBF has been helping performers since 1962, and because of you we could support these artists for more than half a decade.


THE PROCESS

Download the beneficiary application form from the bottom of this page. Fill in the form and send it to the TBF. Your request will be evaluated by the board after which they will make a decision and inform you on how we can assist you.

 

WE PROVIDE SUPPORT IN THE FOLLOWING INDUSTRIES



 

Interested in becoming a beneficiary?

Download the application form here

 

Bobbie Lang

The man who started it all…

In February 1962, a special dinner-dance and cabaret show was staged as a benefit performance for the actor David Beattie, who was dying of cancer in a Johannesburg nursing home. The event was organized by Robert (Bobby) Lang. David, a talented young actor, passed away shortly after the function and the balance of the Beattie Benefit Performance was used to start a benefit fund to aid the profession as a whole. The fund was well and truly launched after a rousing presentation called SHOWTIME the following June. A report in THE STAR of 11 April 1962 also reveals that that Sir Noël Coward (still Mr Coward in those days and chairman of the British Actors Benevolent Fund) wrote a letter of congratulations on the formation of the SA Actors Benevolent Fund – the original name of the Theatre Benevolent Fund. Mr Coward commented that by the nature of their profession and very often by their own temperaments, actors found it difficult to save money and when bad luck or illness came along, it meant a lot to have a sympathetic society with the means and the will to help.

In December 1964 the then ABF was registered as a Welfare Organization, and the members of the theatre profession contributed 25c a week, later 50c a week, of their salaries while working. These amounts were doubled by the managements for whom they worked and the professionals staged shows from time to time to augment the funds.

Unfortunately this practice is no longer adhered to, not least because of the closing down of the former artists’ unions. Very few contributions are at present coming from workers in the entertainment industry although there are ironically more workers in the field than ever before. If it wasn’t for the few stalwarts and loyal friends of the Fund, the TBF would have been forced to close down long ago.

LESSER KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE TBF

Here are a few things you probably didn't know about us.

  • Our administration costs are less than 10% per annum
  • We have more than 20 monthly grant recipients to whom we pay a monthly stipend
  • We pay a stipend equal to the Older Person’s Grant that the state offers
  • The TBF is a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO # 930 000 322 ), with full Income Tax exemption
  • The TBF is the only organisation of its kind in South Africa